Esquimalt, near Victoria, is part of the southern shores of Vancouver Island. The Esquimalt First Nation had a longstanding village on the east side of this cove-notched harbour, which James Douglas declared as one of the best harbours of the Coast during his survey of the area for the HBC, though he referred to it “Is-whoy-malth” at the time. Esquimalt is an anglicization of a Coast Salish term for a place gradually shoaling.1 Douglas would later negotiate treaties with several First Nation groups in the area, largely for the development of HBC supply farms.2
The British Royal Navy had military interests in Esquimalt as early as the 1840s, but it was not until the 1860s that Esquimalt replaced Valparaiso, Chile, as the headquaters for the Royal Navy's Pacific Station.3 Today, this area is home to Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) and Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.4
  • 1. John T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1971), 171.
  • 2. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 187.
  • 3. Ibid., 188.
  • 4. Maritime Forces Pacific, Welcome, Canadian Navy.
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Vancouver Island